SD85 names new superintendent

Kathy Bedard to step down Aug. 1; Rena Sweeney named principal of Sunset and Cheslakees elementary schools in Port McNeill

Dr. Scott Benwell will become the next Superintendent of Schools and C.E.O. for School District 85, the Board of Education announced last week. Benwell will replace Kathy Bedard, who is retiring after six years’ service to the students of the North Island.

He will assume the position effective August 1.

Benwell is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in School District No. 78 (Fraser-Cascade). He started working as a teacher in 1993, became a school principal in 1996, and has served in a variety of district leadership roles since 2005.

“Scott Benwell is an accomplished educator and a community leader,” Board Chair Leightan Wishart said. “He is a strong proponent for education and students, and the Board is confident he will build positive relationships with all our education partners during this time of change.”

Dr. Benwell has a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Curriculum) from University of Victoria, a Master of Arts (Leadership and Training) from Royal Roads University and a Doctor of Philosophy (Educational Leadership) from University of Calgary.

In other District news, Bedard announced Rena Sweeney has been appointed principal of Sunset and Cheslakees elementary schools in Port McNeill, effective Aug. 1.

Sweeney, who grew up on the North Island, is currently acting principal of Sunset and A.J. Elliot Elementary in Sointula, a post she has held for most of the past two school years.

Her experience in the District includes teaching at Woss Lake and Echo Bay elementary schools and serving as vice-principal at Sunset from 2006-09.